Pulp mills like Harmac near Nanaimo would benefit from a break on their substantial power bills.

BC BUDGET: PST relief proposed for business electricity bills

Sales tax on power bills not only hits business, it's also charged on hospitals, schools and municipalities

Finance Minister Mike de Jong has accepted the advice of a business advisory group, proposing to take the provincial sales tax off business electricity bills over the next two years.

In his pre-election budget Tuesday, de Jong announced a plan to cut the PST on electricity in half effective Oct. 1, from seven per cent to 3.5. The rest would be removed in April 1, 2019.

Residential and farm power bills are already exempt from PST. Municipalities, hospitals and schools pay PST on their electricity purchases and would benefit from the change.

De Jong set up a Commission on Tax Competitiveness last year, and it identified B.C. as the only jurisdiction in North America that applies sales tax to electricity bills.

In January, mayors of North Cowichan, Quesnel, Vernon, Port Alberni, Mackenzie, Powell River, Taylor and Port Alice wrote to de Jong asking for the measure to assist struggling sawmills and pulp mills.

“It’s good news for the pulp and paper industry, good news for our workers and communities,” said Len Posyniak, senior vice president of Catalyst Paper. “We’re BC Hydro’s largest industrial user, and we make up about five per cent of the load.”

The province currently takes in about $164 million a year from the tax. The finance ministry estimates that the elimination would save small and medium-sized businesses about $50 million a year.

The budget also proposes to reduce the small business income tax rate by half a point to two per cent. De Jong said that puts B.C’s small business tax at the second lowest rate in Canada, behind Manitoba which has no income tax on small business.

 

Just Posted

New urgent and primary care centre to open in Vernon

Health minister notes lagging areas in care for Vernonites; new facility can remedy

Blessings in a backpack make a difference in Vernon

Upper Room Mission campaign on until Dec. 13

Garbage day changed from Friday to Monday in Vernon Foothills and Silver Star Road

This Friday, Nov. 15, will be the last collection before the switch to Mondays

Highways slippery in Vernon area after first snowfall hits North Okanagan

DriveBC is reporting of slushy and slippery highway conditions throughout the North Okanagan

GoFundMe campaign kicks off for Vernon man battling cancer

Garnet ‘the great’ has always been the life of the party, daughter says

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

Trudeau’s opponents: One gives him an earful, another seeks common ground

PM meets with Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe

Rona’s ‘truly Canadian’ ads are inaccurate, watchdog says

Ads Standards points out U.S.-based Lowe’s acquired Rona in 2016

Penticton on Bamford’s list of stops in 2020

Gord Bamford and friends are scheduled to stop in Penticton in 2020

Brian Burke considered favourite to replace Don Cherry

Brian Burke is the 5-4 pick to be the full-time replacement next season

Major donor Peter Allard takes UBC to court to get his name on all law degrees

Philanthropist claims school not adhering to 2014 agreement for his $30-million donation

LETTER: Vernon hospital needs some intensive care

30 days in hospital sheds light on facility, staff condition

LETTER: Facebook opens floodgates of free information

‘Massive environmental movements have been made possible by social media’

Most Read